IU women’s swimming and diving took third place in the Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.
Head coach Ray Looze’s squad ended with 964 points, falling behind Ohio State’s 1,503.5 and Michigan’s 1,306.5.
Wednesday got off to an unpromising start in the 200-yard medley, despite the efforts of junior Grace Haskett and freshmen Emily Weiss, Cora Dupre and Ashley Turak. Their 1:36.29 finish was third-fastest, but a premature jump by Weiss dealt IU a disqualification and sent it skidding to last place after the contest’s first outing.
But Looze’s group was quick to adjust on day two, which led the Hoosiers surge to third.
In the 500 freestyle, senior Cassy Jernberg arrived .03 seconds from gold, which was taken by Ohio State’s senior Kathrin Demler.
Meanwhile, in a 200 individual medley that featured a pool record by Wisconsin senior Beata Nelson, IU sophomore Mackenzie Looze’s time of 1:55.79 gave her bronze, an NCAA B-cut and a personal best.
Dupre was the first Hoosier to strike gold with 1:43.61 in the 200 freestyle Friday, the fastest the event has ever been completed in Iowa’s home natatorium.
“Easily the highlight was Cora Dupre winning her first Big Ten final,” Looze said. “Just a spectacular swim out of her.”
In the ensuing 100 breaststroke, Weiss and sophomore Noelle Peplowski claimed second and fourth, both overwriting their previous personal bests.
Friday’s competition concluded with the 200 freestyle relay, which Looze said was a fantastic way to end the evening. IU took third with Turak and Dupre joining Haskett and junior Laurel Eiber in a 1:28.37 performance that gave all four A-Cuts, punching their tickets to the NCAA Championships.
The Buckeyes did not break their stride Saturday. Senior Molly Kowal recording the fastest 1,650 freestyle in Big Ten Championship history. Jernberg snuck in at just under 16 minutes to claim fourth.
Mistakes once again proved costly for the Hoosiers when Dupre’s fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle was eradicated by another disqualification.
IU hasn’t been kept out of the conference’s top two since 2008. While bronze has little luster compared to 2019’s victory, the Hoosiers are headed to NCAA Championships in March with some of the country’s fastest times.